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Bonuses to boost gender equity at Swedish unis

The Local/dl · 21 Jan 2011, 16:57

Published: 21 Jan 2011 16:57 GMT+01:00

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“It’s obvious that the problem of a lack of gender equity at higher education institutions isn’t going to solve itself,” the chair of the commission, Pia Sandvik Wiklund, said in a statement.

“We’re convinced that an economic incentive is necessary to stimulate the will to change which does in fact exist at higher education institutions.”

Writing in a debate article in the Dagens Nyhter (DN) newspaper, Sandvik Wiklund was more succinct:

“Money talks.”

For the last two years, Sandvik Wiklund has chaired a government mandated delegation on gender equity in higher education.

The group, which was tasked with developing proposals to promote gender equity at Sweden’s colleges and universities, presented its final proposals to deputy education minister Nyamko Sabuni on Friday.

“It’s obvious that gender equity should be integrated into the regular systems of governance, follow-up, and evaluation. This is where things fall apart,” said Sandvik Wiklund.

To that end, the delegation proposed offering an ‘equality bonus’ of 50 million kronor ($7.5 million) per year to be divided among Swedish college and universities where “gender equity has been judged to be significantly good or to have improved significantly”.

Other proposals put forward by the delegation include more stringent follow-ups of university’s recruiting to ensure improvements in the recruitment of femail professors as well as reviewing the guidelines for handing out research funding and quality evaluation from a gender perspective.

The delegation also wants to task Sweden’s Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen – DO) with reviewing universities’ work to promote equality between the sexes.

In handing over the proposal, Sandvik Wiklund emphasised the importance of promoting gender equality in higher education.

Story continues below…

“This is also about the legitimacy of the academy as a pillar of society and about Swedish society’s development and competitiveness,” she said.

“The questions we need to ask ourselves are, “Can we? Do we want to? Do we dare to?’”

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:28 January 21, 2011 by Jan M
If the problem is that women don't find the career very attractive and are exercising their right to choose to do something else then this is a complete waste of money. Has anyone bothered to ask them?
18:24 January 21, 2011 by Iraniboy
The reason why we have less female students in engineering fields and less male students in natural science related fields, is due to their personal interests. If people work in a job THEY LIKE, they defenitely perform well and feel satisfied but if they are aritificially accepted for a job due to other motiviations rather than their interests, they will not do well and they will not be satisfied in a long run. For sure by these kind of motivations we are not going to achieve better female engineers nor better male nurses. It will only distract people's mind from their main interests.
20:52 January 21, 2011 by Just_Kidding
I Completely agree with Iraniboy. I am in engineering myself and I don't mind seeing more ladies in our office; but what a government could do when ladies are not interested in math and engineering? How many ladies do you see managing a machine shop or working in a mechanics garage or an Iron mine? How many ladies do you see that work on a car or motorcycle in their spare time? Not many I believe; But people in government think that there is a systematic discrimination going on when they compare the numbers for men and women in engineering fields.
21:32 January 21, 2011 by MegaSchmegma
The Swedish university I attend is 69% female but nobody would argue that my school should receive government bonuses to attract more male students, would they? Why are some politicians so determined to push men out of higher education in favor of less qualified women? After gender do we go through this process with race and ethnicity?
21:58 January 21, 2011 by Just_Kidding
....After gender do we go through this process with race and ethnicity...

NO! We should only OBSESS us about unproven discrimination against ladies.
22:22 January 21, 2011 by voiceofreason
Most Swedes are often a bunch of confused folks i.e. they don't know what they want.

Was it not long ago that I read that some ladies could not get admission because ladies have exceeded their quota (originally planned to give them a majority). They had to further reduce the male quota and no male has the political big-mouth to make any noise.
22:23 January 21, 2011 by Hedley
@MegaSchemgma, because we the men, are whortless, powerfull and abusive in their fantasy world. We the men, should be terminated and blame for every bad thing like paying for prostitution!
22:28 January 21, 2011 by know
There is another method to help ! It's (IVF) In vitro fertilisering, but I'm afraid to cancel men in the future.
05:15 January 22, 2011 by repat_xpat
I have been blocked out of my promotion for 8 years because I am a white male. I have no problem providing equal pay and equal opportunity. But this is ridiculous.
09:53 January 22, 2011 by toughtall
@ Hedley...I agree what you say....as far as I can see specially in Sweden is that..men are being discriminated on name of equal rights to woman....on

one side woman says I need equal rights..and at the same time she says man should respect woman and care for her. So over all conclusion is that a day will come when the value of man will not be more than a pet dog at home. And they will find woman every where. Even I have seen many non-skilled and non-competent woman at many places because they are females. This is how men are discriminated. ..
10:02 January 22, 2011 by know
ladies are not interested in managing a machine shop or working in a mechanics garage or an Iron mine or work on a car or motorcycle in their spare time !!! because they know all men well offer it free for the ladies.
11:03 January 22, 2011 by Just_Kidding
@know: "because they [ladies] know all men well offer it free for the ladies."

Do they also like being offered cash?
13:32 January 22, 2011 by Larry Thrash
Equal opportunity doesn't mean equal out come. Everyone is different which the diversity gods don't recognize. Males, primarily caucasian males are openly blocked and have no right to equal opportunity in most western countries.
15:37 January 22, 2011 by JoeSwede
The Swedish governmnent is decades behind on issues. This is part of the mulitcultural / sexual equality ideas - 70s ideals.

Equal access is the best you can do. If you push equal outcome then you change society and there are unforseen reprusions. Nevermind killing any self initiative, freedom and cultural glue. But maybe that's how Sweden rolls...
15:45 January 22, 2011 by engagebrain
In parts of Stockholm U women are progressively squeezed out of the system.

The few that manage to stay in tend to be married to or in relations with senior male members of the U.

Just look at the numbers of women employed as teaching staff.

Another strange aspect is that in almost every case advertised posts are filled by internal candidates, and actually advertising posts is in itself unusual.

Its down to who do you know and who are you sleeping with.
20:17 January 22, 2011 by Frobobbles
As gender 'is just a social construct', it is only with appalling prejudice one can state that higher education lacks 'gender equity'. Who are they to judge who is 'male' or 'female'?
11:31 January 23, 2011 by Nemesis
This is not about student numbers. The article is about staff numbers and what percentage of there staff is female.

In every University in Sweden, there is almost complete male dominance of all upper levels of staff. Even junior staff tend to be overwhelmingly male.

In Sweden most university jobs are not advertised which would be illegal in the UK or Ireland. Sweden is supposed to have advanced equality and human rights laws. Sweden does not and in reality is close to the dark ages in that area.

The law in Sweden needs to be changed so that all jobs are advertised and filled from a wider pool, instead of filling them with whoever is a member of a political party, has good family connections, is sleeping with a member of staff etc.

Sweden should have got away from all that decades ago.

Sweden needs to also encourage staff from outside Sweden to come to Sweden so as to increase its standards.

Every job in a UK or Irish university is openly advertised in the relevant journals and local newspapers. Just open the back of New Scientist any week and you will see some of those advertisements for jobs.

Very few Swedish university jobs are advertised. Those that are advertised are usually because they can't find someone out of there social circle to fill the job. It literally is that bad in some cases.

Some Swedish Univeristies are better than others in that regard, but a significant number of them are literally breaking European Law so often, I am really suprised they are not being taken to court, constantly.
12:37 January 23, 2011 by engagebrain
Jobs are often not advertised in the Swedish U system - the ploy is to create a temporary post and later make it permanent - no advert, appoint who you want, no oversight committee.

Even when jobs are advertised the job description can be completely tailored to the preferred candidate, almost down to to hair colour, so that anyone but the preferred candidate has no chance, even if the are a much better scientist.

Science is international and that posts in Swedish Us are mostly filled by the favoured internal candidate suggests that posts are not filled by the best people, which is hardly the best deal for students or the taxpayers.
14:53 January 23, 2011 by thecraicer


BTW who is making sure hermaphrodites are being represented?
05:18 January 24, 2011 by JoeSwede

Well stated. Job posting is a better way to change things.
14:48 January 25, 2011 by Hamad

'It is almost taboo for a man to question the assertion that the rapidly dwindling pay gap is the result of discrimination, rather than genuine choice

Meanwhile, pay is just one of the terms of employment. Men work longer hours, enjoy their jobs less, commute further and are more likely to get the sack.

Sweden now had some of the toughest anti-discrimination laws in the world, but was 'blind to some of the most flagrant discrimination - against men
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